June 14, 2004

SDTC approves $32.4M for new clean technology projects

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) has approved in principle $32.4 million in funding for 11 new clean technology projects. These projects are currently leveraged by an additional $95.6 million of investment from other private and public sources.

"This represents a 3:1 ratio of industry-partner contribution to SDTC investment, demonstration of industry's sustained commitment to supporting clean technology projects," said SDTC president and CEO Dr Vicky Sharpe.

Since April 2002, SDTC has completed four funding rounds, committed $72 million to 38 clean technology projects, and leveraged $206 million from project consortia members. SDTC currently manages $278 million in projects. The not-for-profit corporation will launch its sixth funding round in late July and will make its fifth round of funding announcements in early October 2004.

SDTC board chair James Stanford pointed out that "These new projects engage most of Canada's primary economic sectors, which are significant producers of greenhouse gas emissions. This funding round has exposed us to new technologies through the increasing and innovative focus by Canadian industry on the issue of greenhouse gas emissions."

All funded projects must go through a stringent due diligence process that includes site visits to each applicant location. In this way SDTC gains a clear understanding of the consortium's value proposition and performance expectations. The latest group of funded projects focus on technologies in the areas of energy production, energy utilization, energy production and utilization, energy production and waste management, transportation, power generation and enabling technology. Project summaries are outlined below.

1. Lead organization: BIOX Corporation, Oakville, Ont. Consortium members: University of Toronto, Dynex Capital Limited Partnership, Weatons Holdings/Notae, Vopak Terminals Canada (Canadian Subsidiary of Royal Vopak) and AMEC.

Economic category: energy production

Project description: The project will develop and demonstrate a technology to convert any seed oil, recycled cooking oils, and animal tallows and fats into biodiesel at atmospheric pressure and near-ambient temperatures and at a faster rate than competing processes. BIOX believes these advantages will result in considerably lower production costs, making biodiesel competitive with petroleum diesel.

2. Lead organization: Lignol Innovations, Vancouver, BC. Consortium members: Tembec, University of British Columbia Faculty of Forestry, Forintek Canada, Hipp Engineering, two major forest product companies and one major energy company.

Economic category: energy production

Project Description: This project will develop and demonstrate a cellulose-biomass biorefinery process claimed capable of converting forest industry wastes into ethanol and other marketable products effectively and economically, leaving virtually no leftover residuals. This is done in two general stages. First, a proprietary Organosolv process chemically separates and extracts lignin and several other wood components from the waste material. The remaining insoluble cellulose is then broken down to sugars which are converted to fuel-grade ethanol using an enzymatic and fermentation process. The conversion of this treated form of cellulose to ethanol is much more efficient than other methods.

3. Lead organization: Sacre-Davey Engineering, North Vancouver, BC. Consortium members: ERCO Worldwide (a division of Superior Plus), QuestAir Technologies, Dynetek Industries, Powertech Labs, Westport Innovations and Clean Energy.

Economic category: energy production

Project description: The partners will develop and demonstrate a hydrogen fuel refining, storage, distribution and infrastructure program showcasing fuel cells in power generation, heavy and light-duty hydrogen burning vehicles, and vehicle refueling technologies. The program is based on recovery and utilization of waste hydrogen from an electro-chemical plant to advance the hydrogen economy.

4. Lead organization: DeCloet Greenhouse, Simcoe, Ont. Consortium members: Enbridge Consumers Gas, Union Gas, CEA Technologies, Quist Engineering & Consult, Greenhouse Engineering, Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP-National Research Council) and the Agricultural and Adaptation Council (CanAdapt program).

Economic category: energy utilization

Project Description: This project will develop and demonstrate an integrated suite of greenhouse technologies. New greenhouse structural designs will incorporate innovations such as removable foam insulation, heat recovery and storage systems, micro-turbine cogeneration, new energy management process controls, infra-red thermal film, energy curtains and supplemental lighting system technologies. The project proponents say these combined technologies can increase greenhouse energy efficiency by 50 to 75%, with corresponding reductions in operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Lead organization: Fifth Light Technology, Mississauga, Ont. Consortium members: Great West Life Realty, Lindsay Electronics, Toronto Hydro and New Orbit Technologies.

Economic category: energy utilization

Project Description: The focus of this project is the development and demonstration of a microprocessor-based dimmer for magnetic ballasts in fluorescent lights. This enables fixture-level dimming control and could lead to significant energy savings. Fifth Light says its dimmer makes magnetic ballasts operate more efficiently even when they are not dimmed, and actually improves their performance with respect to flicker, noise, heat, and life expectancy. Fifth Light dimmers reduce electricity in direct proportion to the amount of dimming. This technology offers a substantial advantage over electronic ballasts.

6. Lead Organization: Gamma Engineering, Whitby Ont. Consortium members: Tecnored/Startec, Sault Ste Marie Economic Development Corporation, Sault Ste Marie Public Utilities Commission and the City of Sault Ste Marie.

Economic category: energy utilization

Project description: This project involves the development and demonstration of a smelting plant to produce marketable pig iron (raw iron) from steel mill waste by means of a novel process which can replace blast furnaces. The process uses coal instead of coke, thus reducing both energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to pig iron, the process yields a combustible off-gas and a calcium/silica slag, the latter an ingredient in cement. These two byproducts offer considerable market and emissions reduction benefits.

7. Lead organization: Gen-X Power Corp of Alberta, Calgary. Consortium members: KATZEN International, University of Calgary, Virtual Materials Group and Natural Resources Canada.

Economic category: energy production/energy utilization

Project Description: The project is aimed at developing and demonstrating a membrane technology believed to reduce the overall cost of ethanol production in any ethanol plant by 3.5 cents per litre. Current ethanol production processes separate and distil grain-based feedstock. Conventional approaches of this type are unreliable and inefficient because they use molecular sieve beds or plate and frame membranes. The Gen-X process is more reliable and much less energy-intensive.

8. Lead organization: Gradek Energy, Montreal Que. Consortium members: Syncrude Canada, SNC-Lavalin and the University of Alberta.

Economic category: energy production/waste management

Project description: The partners with focus on the development and demonstration of a process for separating bitumen from oil sands and from tailings streams and ponds. The process is based on the adsorption of hydrocarbons by re-usable plastic organic polymer beads. The proponents say this technology could be applied to treat vast tailings streams and ponds remaining from current oil sands operations; these areas represent millions of barrels of unrecovered bitumen.

9. Lead organization: Nanox, Quebec. Consortium members: Laval University, Pangaea Ventures, Business Development Bank of Canada, The Solidarity Fund QFL, Hydro-Quebec Capitech and Sovar s.e.c.

Economic category: transportation

Project description: This project will develop and demonstrate a low-temperature catalyst powder claimed capable of significantly reducing the quantity of platinum group metals (PGMs) used by the automotive industry in the coating on catalytic converters. This new catalyst converts carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and methane from engine exhaust into water and carbon dioxide at lower temperatures than PGMs, which catalyze pollutants only when the converter is hot. Vehicles equipped with conventional PGM catalytic converters may exhaust pollutants directly into the atmosphere during the period between cold start-up and optimum temperature when little or no catalysis is taking place.

10. Lead organization: NxtPhase Corp, Vancouver BC. Consortium members: Hydro Quebec, BC Transmission Corporation, Powertech Labs and the University of British Columbia.

Economic category: power generation

Project description: The partners will develop and demonstrate optical current and voltage sensors to control and monitor large-scale electricity power grids. Devices of this type have the potential to replace existing, widely used instrument transformers and circuit breakers, which are insulated either with toxic oils or sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) gas, the latter an extremely potent greenhouse gas. The optical sensors offer a safe and environmentally friendly solution as well as superior performance, enhancing reliability of the grid and reducing the probability of events such as the August 14, 2003 blackout.

11. Lead organization: Synodon, Edmonton. Consortium members: TransCanada PipeLines, Mosaic Mapping Systems and Airborne Energy Solutions.

Economic category: enabling technology

Project Description: This project will involve the development and demonstration of realSens(tm), a mobile (helicopter-mounted) remote natural gas sensor capable of detecting leaks in pipelines. The device is based on remote sensing methods and instrumentation developed at the University of Toronto. This new technology will enable pipeline operators to increase their efficiency in pipeline leak repair.

More information is available from AndrĂˆe Mongeon, director of communications, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, 613/234-6313, ext 224, E-mail a.mongeon@sdtc.ca, Web site www.sdtc.ca.

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